Being interested in architecture, I really was looking forward to the trip, and, to be honest, wasn’t disappointed. As a photographer, I was spoiled for choice.
Although the Liverpool was going through huge regeneration project of the time, it already had some remarkable, and very photographic, buildings. I could really sense the Maritime past; a past which made Liverpool a very rich.
So, the question for me was: where do I begin?
Picking up on its history, I decided to mainly photograph the city with 1600 black & white film (a higher ISO with more grain); pushing the film to 3200 to get an even grainer feel. I was fortunate, in a way, as much of the time I was there was overcast, which help give my photos of the transforming city its maritime feel, texture and smells.
While exploring the regenerated docks, I came across one of the most iconic buildings in Liverpool. The Royal Liver Building is which is located at Pier Head and sits along the eastern side of the Mersey Estuary, and is home to two fabled Liver Birds that watch over the city and the sea. Legend has it that if these two birds to fly away, then the city would cease to exist.
It was built for the Royal Liver Assurance Group as it needed larger premises, and opened in 1911. The Group had been set up in the city in 1850 to provide locals with assistance related to losing a wage-earning relative.
Designed by Walter Aubrey Thomas, the building became the first major structure in Britain, and one of the first buildings in the world to be constructed using reinforced concrete. The building's radical design was considered by some to be impossible to build.
The Royal Liver Building is one of a number of buildings in Liverpool that really caught my eye and was very drawn to it. It is a very functional and egalitarian building dominating the riverside view, but also aesthetically pleasing. It’s a modern building, but not out of place with older buildings within the city. It is also a building that can be photographed well in both black and white as well as colour.
The favourite image I took of the Royal Liver Building is from the docks. Although slightly hidden, the building peers out from behind neighbouring buildings with the two Liver Birds on top. The grainy and textured image recognised the maritime and economic memory of the city as well as the impact of its buildings.